RTW Step 2: Assess Job Tasks

Task assessment involves observing employees at work and documenting the phyiscal requirements of their jobs.

Identifying the physical demands of the job will help you develop alternative productive duty later in the return-to-work process.

Many of the things we do at work are routine. We’ve done them so often that we don’t put much thought, if any, into them. We’re going to change that in this installment of our return-to-work (rtw) series.

In the last installment, we learned how to put our rtw program in writing. Now we’ll take the second step: assessing job tasks. Your goal is to identify the physical requirements of every task your employees do.

Your analysis might uncover unsafe aspects of your operations. In addition, by identifying the physical requirements of the job, you can redesign tasks to meet injured workers’ restrictions.

For example, elevated work surfaces minimize bending motions, and powered conveyors offset pushing and pulling requirements.

For each task your employees perform, document these things:

Postures. Document how long employees have to stand, sit, walk, drive and maintain other postures.

Lifting and carrying. Note how much weight employees carry, how high they lift loads and how far they carry them.

Actions and motions. Observe pushing, pulling, climbing, balancing, bending, crawling and twisting actions/motions. Note why employees must perform the action or motion.

Equipment. Write down equipment that employees use, what they use it for and how often they use it. Note any physical demands involved.

Environmental conditions. Document how often and for how long employees are exposed to vibration, noise, heat, cold and other environmental conditions.

In the next installment of our rtw series, we will learn how to identify modified duty employees can perform while they recover from on-the-job injuries.

In the meantime, see page 17 of Texas Mutual’s free RTW Kit for a form that will guide you through the task assessment process.

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One Response to RTW Step 2: Assess Job Tasks

  1. Pingback: RTW Step 3 – Identifying Modified Duty | Texas Mutual Insurance Company blog

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